Over the last few weeks, DC has released 6 special crossovers featuring crossovers of some of their characters. Crossovers are not uncommon in the comics game, and so finding them happening are just business as usual. But when you crossover characters from different genres and companies? That’s worth taking notice. And, unlike another series of crossover stories that DC took on earlier this year, this series of standalone stories is a lot more fun.
Cue the Merry Melodies intro, as I’m talking about the recent 6 issues where the DC Universe crossed into the Looney Tunes universe! So let’s take a look at them…
In general, this was a fantastically fun event. It was not one of those comic events that changes everything (such as Rebirth, Civil War or Secret Empire), but… OK, no wait, this does change everything. But not in a world-building way. No, more in a way that it shows that a large company such as DC is willing to have fun with their characters again. DC’s New 52 comic line was full of darkness, as were the first few movies in their new film universe. The Hanna-Barbera comics published by DC take a stab at addressing many social norms through the eyes of re-imagined characters, making it significantly more serious and not as fun in nature.
No, this set of comics ensures that fun exists and is put back into the pages of the “funny book”. There are 2 stories in each book – the main story, which is about 85% of the pages, is done in your typical DC-comics style art, with some fantastic names writing and drawing the books. It gives it the authenticity needed in order to make it work. The 2nd story in each crossover issue is done more in the Looney Tunes/cartoony style of art, and the stories within are just as fantastical. Having both elements here really helped to make these stories stand out.
Now, if you haven’t read them yet but plan on it, be aware…
This story was definitely a fun one to read. The Legion has not been in the DC comics universe for a few years new, although there have been hints as to their return throughout the Rebirth event. In typical Legion lore, when things go wrong in the 31st Century, the reach back in time and bring Superboy forward to help them. In this case, the automated robot they send back does visit the Kent farm in Smallville, but instead of the Boy of Steel it brings back a certain Wascally Wabbit and some of his special carrots which, when eaten, give him super powers. (Yes, this does sound like Captain Carrot, but it isn’t. Honest. Maybe.) And in typical heroic nature, Bugs gives up his additional carrots in order to save the life of a member of the Legion before she succumbs to her illness.
Written by Sam Humphries, with art by Tom Grummet and Scott Hanna; backup story written and drawn by Juan Manuel Ortiz. (Props to Mr Grummet for the cover, which is an homage to a classic Legion cover – many homages appear but were unharmed in the printing of this issue.)
Not a pairing you may expect, but it makes perfect sense. Take both remaining martians from the 2 universes (universii?) in the DC/Warner Brothers family and put them together and you get an amusing little story. Where J’onn J’ones, the Martian Manhunter, has become a protector of Earth (as a member of various incarnations of the Justice League), Marvin (or M’arvinn as J’onn calls him) is headed down a different path: do everything he can to destroy every Earth across the multiverse. Even though it’s a bit more of a DC style of art, that doesn’t stop Marvin from growing a new spaceship with a “Just Add Water” capsule. And it just doesn’t stop there – even his signature catchphrases of “You’re making me angry” and “Isn’t that lovely?” makes it into the story and you can’t help but hear it in the animated character’s voice. The backup story is just as good, with the typical animated Marvin and his pet K-9 showing up, and even focusing on an element in the Justice League International comic series with J’onn’s love for Chocos (the non-copyright-breaking version of Oreos within the DCU).
Written by Steve Orlando and Frank J. Barbiere, with art by Aaron Lopresti and Jerome Moore; backup story written by Jim Fanning with art by John Loter.
The title is slightly misleading as Lobo, DC’s Main Man bounty hunter, does not really team up with the Road Runner, but rather with Wile E. Coyote (of a sort). Rather than be your typical animal, both the Coyote and Road Runner are lab experiments at Acme Labs in the Nevada desert, mingling animals with Alien DNA (this is the Nevada desert) in order to create a new type of creature. The animals escape, and the Coyote and Road Runner begin a 50+ year game of cat and mouse, using the tropes common with the animated series (including Wile E. being mistaken for Sam the Coyote, friend of the also-mutated Sam the Shepherd dog). Hell, the Coyote even waves his signature little white flag to give up to the US military. Wile E. recruits Lobo to hunt down the Road Runner for him, and in return he takes on Lobo’s current bounty hunt – Killowog of the Green Lantern Corps. Suffice to say, the Coyote doesn’t win (shocker) and the Road Runner survives… but Wile E. may have a new way to catch that annoying bird… The backup story is really fun, with Lobo unable to kill the Road Runner (a: because it’s a cartoon style, and b: Warner Brothers lawyers say so). When Lobo starts ordering merchandise out of the Acme Catalog you know that it’s gonna be strange.
Written by Bill Morrison, art by Kelley Jones; backup story by Bill Morrison.
Especially with the release of the movie, most people know that the character of Wonder Woman has a strong history utilizing Greek gods and the associated mythos. The Greek myths hold stories of animals with human-like attributes or are half-human themselves, such as the Minotaur, but here we have the Tazmanian Devil being another one of those types of creatures. The Taz we know and love is still present in this adaptaion, mostly through the use of his word bubbles (which are filled with little images, probbaly the original use of emojis). It’s a fantastic story that harkens to some of the best Wonder Woman stories, showcasing her compassion for all living creatures, but knowing when a stand is needed to be taken. The backup story was not bad, as it did include many of the Looney Tunes cast, but not the strongest of the backups.
Written by Tony Bedard, with art by Barry Kitson and John Floyd; backup story by Tony Bedard and Ben Caldwell.
The last week of this event released the best 2 books of the entire run. Jonah Hex has been absent from the comics pages for a few years now, but he returns in a crossover with an epic story and fantastic art. Yosemite Sam has given up being a pirate and instead has returned to being a prospector, who gets lucky in a gold mine. Word gets around about his newfound wealth and he needs to hire a bodyguard: enter Jonah Hex. The mannerisms are the same, the actions and words are the same (including the stomping of the feet with “OOOOOOH!” being shouted… It’s Sam perfectly captured and put into this story and he fits the Old West universe of Jonah HEx to a tee. After selflessly saving a carnival worker (a human-like chicken-man named Foghorn Leghorn), the favor is returned when Sam and Hex get warned of the shady circus owner planning to take out Sam and Hex and lay claim to the mine. How does it end? There’s a fight and Jonah Hex is involved. I don’t need to explain any further, do I? If Foghorn was not in this story, this honestly read like it could have been a story told in any issue of Jonah Hex, with him being hired by a rather eccentric individual.
Written by Jimmy Palmiotti, with art by Mark Texeira; backup story written by Bill Matheny and art by Dave Alvarez.
Rating: 9.5/10 (the pairing of Palmiotti/Texeira make this worth it; was not a big fan of the backup story so couldn’t give it full marks.)
Yes, you read that right. Told from the perspective of a downtrodden Elmer Fudd, every Looney Tunes character is in this story but not in the way you picture. A bar named “Porky’s” managed by a stuttering bartender. A lying snitch named Bugs “The Bunny”. Tweety. Sylvester. Yosemite Sam. Foghorn Legorm. Taz. Marvin the Martian. They are all here as human individuals but with the quirks made famous by years of Looney Tunes. Hell, there’s even a guy touting the fact that he has a singing frog… Bugs evidently killed the love of Elmer’s life, and he barters his own life for the name of the person who hired him to perform the hit… Bruce Wayne. After your typical trope of a misunderstanding, the 2 team up to take down Bugs and the person who really hired him. When all is said and done, Bugs, Fudd and Batman join each other at Porky’s bar to partake in a shared beverage of carrot juice. This summary is a little short, but really you have to read this issue. This was one of the most fun books I have read in a long time.
Written by Tom King, with art by Kee Weeks;backup story written by Tom King and art by Byron Vaughns.
Other crossovers don’t make the cut. This one did. Fantastically so. Although it ultimately was a gimmick, it was one that worked and something that has been lacking too often in comics these days: the telling of a great story. These creators were given flexibility, and you can tell that every one of them had a love for the Looney Tunes characters. The mannerisms were intact. The stories honored both sides of the equation – the DC side and the Warner Brothers side. This crossover is something highly recommended for fans of various DC characters, of the Looney Tunes, or for those just want the “fun” put back in the “funny book”. And, as they say…